Many things that seem like good ideas in February end up defeating us in June. I am a pro at overextending myself, and I occasionally unwisely foist that tendency on my work. The end of last week juxtaposed the opening of Orpheus, the kickoff of rehearsals for Comte Ory, and the first site visit of the production team for Figaro. Thank heavens we took Saturday off, for our margin for error was getting smaller every day, what with the accumulated fatigue in the office, in the shops, and in the theatre.
I was immensely proud of our first two Orpheus shows. Our young artists owned the stage and committed themselves to this music with no hesitation. Baroque ornamentation is a skill more akin to jazz than it is to much of classical singing, and it’s often difficult to get singers to take the creative leap it requires. But these folks have met the challenge head-on.
We’re also proud of all the interns and young professionals backstage and in the shops. All of the other small-budget companies out there know what I mean. The Orpheus scene shifts have taken us to the outer limits of what our tiny theatre will bear, and we’ve somehow lived to tell the tale. No fly space, no upstage, and almost no wing space, and we managed a complete changeover between acts. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.
How’s Your Hearing?
The day off yesterday allowed me to catch up on the entire week’s newspapers. The Washington Post reported on teenagers using high-frequency cell phone ringtones to escape detection by adults. The idea is that older ears can’t hear the high-pitched “mosquito” ringtones. I had to find these ringtones and see for myself. Give it a try. (In case you’re wondering, I was greatly relieved to find that my high-frequency hearing is still intact.)
Orpheus, or The Marvellous Constancy of Male Stupidity
This, displayed today in the dressing room hallway; believed to have been discovered by a member of our orchestra. Further excerpted below, but go here for the original, by minokh_shorah.
- Queen: I love Orpheus. Orpheus loves Eurydice. Let’s kill her.
- Henchmaiden: Good idea! (They do so.)
- Orpheus: Ohnoes! My wife is dying! Help!
- Eurydice: Too late, I’m dead. (dies)
- Orpheus: My life is over.
- Orpheus’s best friend: (eyeing a nymph) Say, you’re kinda cute.
- Nymph: Not interested. Creep.
- Orpheus: (a little louder this time) My life is over.
- Best friend: So quit your whining and go get her back.
- Orpheus: Hey, good idea
- Pluto: INTRUDER! ATTACK! -Wait, do I hear music?
- Henchman: Pluto, Orpheus is here.
- Orpheus: Gimme my wife back.
- Pluto: Yeah, okay. In fact, I’m going to declare a holiday in the underworld.
- Tormented souls: Thanks, Orpheus.
- Henchman: Right, so, Orpheus, here’s your wife. You’re not allowed to look at her until you’re back above ground. Oh, and it was the Queen that did it!
- Orpheus: The Queen?!?
- Eurydice: Whatever, just get me out of here. (ORPHEUS looks back.)
- Eurydice: You idiot! I was almost there!
- Queen: If Eurydice isn’t still dead, I’m going to kill her.
- Henchmaiden: There’s something seriously wrong with you.
- Orpheus: My life is over, and it’s all your fault, you evil, evil woman.
- Queen: But I love you! (ORPHEUS stares at her blankly. That is, he does the operatic equivalent of staring at her blankly, which is to sing at her disdainfully for a few minutes. The QUEEN gets really mad and organizes a MOB of ANGRY WOMEN, the 18th century equivalent of FEMINAZIS, who beat ORPHEUS to DEATH.)
- Queen: (sobs) But I loved him!
I loved your short-version of the opera libretto. But they stopped too soon. They needed to add that the Queen dies, and then changes her mind to be joyful because she can continue pursuing and punishing Orpheus and Eur. in the Underworld.
So do you think Mr. Telemann had a sneaky sense of humor – I thought your light soprano character’s single aria was hilarious – the 1628 version of “politically correct”.